We all know it’s really important to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy for many, many reasons. But some women believe that exercising during pregnancy can be dangerous and harmful to the baby, and so prefer to sit it out on the couch, eating for two and piling on the pounds. Now we’re not saying that every pregnant woman should jump up and do a 10 mile cycle ride everyday, indeed the decision to exercise or cycle when pregnant is a very personal one and you should be give careful consideration to your own situation.
So why Exercise when Pregnant?
Well Claire Mockridge, a pregnancy fitness expert says:
“The benefits of exercising during pregnancy are numerous. It helps you combat excessive weight gain, keeps you fit, keeps back/pelvic pain at bay, helps you sleep you better, prepares your body for labour/motherhood, decreases the symptoms of morning sickness/nausea, and at the end of the day, it sets a great example for your unborn baby too.”
And the NHS advises, “Keep up your normal daily physical activity or exercise (sport, running, yoga, dancing, or even walking to the shops and back) for as long as you feel comfortable. Exercise is not dangerous for your baby – there is some evidence that active women are less likely to experience problems in later pregnancy and labour.”
Ok, so who wouldn’t want to give their baby the best start in life? Of course we all would and if you’re already cycling and want to continue throughout your pregnancy it can be done, just listen to your body, take advice from your health professionals and do what feels natural and right for you.
Top Tips for Cycling when Pregnant
The Total Women’s Cycling website has some great ideas and tips for cycling when pregnant and is well worth a read. Tips like, you’ll often feel more energetic in the morning during the first trimester, even though you’ll be very tired during this period. And also as your bump grows you’ll need to raise your handlebars to accommodate your changing shape.
An article on the CTC National Cycling Charity website talks about how cycling to work relieved one person’s morning sickness, stopped her ankles swelling and relieved back pain. It’s worth noting though that neither the NCT nor the NHS recommend cycling when pregnant because of the risk of falling, so do talk to your midwife or GP before continuing to ride once you find out you are pregnant.
The best tip anyone can give a pregnant cyclist is of course, if you don’t feel right cycling and your body is telling you it’s not happy, then stop. The most important thing is that you enjoy cycling, whether you’re pregnant or not and if that isn’t happening it’s not worth continuing. Put your cycle away until the time is right again another time. Do your research and find out how others got on, what the risks are and how you and your baby can benefit. Weigh up all the information and decide if cycling when pregnant is the right thing for you.